PLANS for a community buyout of Geilsland Campus in Beith, will now become reality after the Scottish Land Fund awarded more than £500,000 to the Beith Community Development Trust.

The Trust will now be able to purchase the former Geilsland House and School Campus site, which extends to 5.24 hectares, thereby securing its future as a community asset. thanks to the £512,000 cash help.

Jane Lamont, of Beith Community Development Trust, said they hope to position the campus as the ‘Gateway to North Ayrshire’, providing new job opportunities and delivering from it a range of economic activities including a range of accommodation and business support, start up and incubator units.

She said: “Geilsland Campus is a beautiful and important community asset not only for Beith but also North Ayrshire. To own it as a community is beyond what we once thought was possible.

“We are genuinely thrilled about the scope of possibilities and opportunities that will now become a reality for the community of Beith.

“We are grateful to the owners, Crossreach, who recognised the significance of Geilsland for the community of Beith and have worked alongside us to make it happen. It’s been an empowering process for the whole community.” Minister for Land Reform, Aileen McLeod, said: “It is great news that the latest round of awards from the Scottish Land Fund will help seven communities in Aberdeenshire, Highlands, North Ayrshire and West Lothian bring land in into community ownership.

“It is encouraging to see that the local community in Beith has taken the initiative and put forward proposals to operate Geilsland as a Sustainability Hub to create conditions which the hope will attract skills, talent and wealth into the wider Garnock Valley.

“These projects, together with the wider Scottish Government work on Land Reform, through both the Community Empowerment Act, and the Land Reform Bill, will support the Scottish Government aim of bringing more land into community ownership by 2020. I am looking forward to watching these communities thrive as they develop the land on which they live and work to realise their goals and ambitions.” Scottish Land Fund Committee Chair, John Watt, added: “This project is an excellent example of how a local community can transform ambition into reality. The community purchase of Geilsland Campus offers a unique opportunity for local people to shape the future of Beith, along the way creating jobs, new enterprise and local entrepreneurship. I am delighted that the Scottish Land Fund will help make this possible while giving the community complete control over its future direction.” Beith Community Development Trust is one of seven organisations sharing in £1,201,200 from the Scottish Land Fund.